I am waking up to coffee and the Guardian giving us ‘Tens of thousands of passengers stranded by Gatwick airport drones‘. The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/dec/20/tens-of-thousands-of-passengers-stranded-by-gatwick-airport-drones) gives us how some silly wanker is stranding tens of thousands of passengers. Now I get that this is done for the good of the safety of the people. My initial reaction was (like many others), shoot down that bloody drone and be done with it. Now, I get that things are alas not that simple and I started to get educated on what is currently being used.
As I learned more, we are given: “Michigan Technological University, for instance, has demonstrated an “octocopter” armed with a gun that fires a net to trap and carry off rogue drones. Not only does that approach work at altitude, it also protects the captured drone from plummeting to the ground, potentially causing injury or destroying evidence.”
Hence I reengineered the net, the initial solution that the Skywall has (at https://openworksengineering.com), when we combine it with the Octocopter, gives us the first part. Now we merely add a small cylinder and an ejectable cartridge that activates 3-5 seconds after firing. The ejectable cartridge is filled with high pressure helium that inflates a balloon, one that is similar to the airbag in a car, most likely larger. The cylinder also has a small beacon, which will be active. We have now achieved two parts. The first is that whatever is captured is now being slowed by the balloon on helium, also preventing full speed crashing, and limiting damage. The beacon will guide the people to where an industrial grade drone will go. This now gives us two parts, the operator takes his/her losses, or finds out that the drone is giving away their location, making an arrest a lot more likely and easy. The second part is that no matter how the drone works, it works on physical principles and drag is a bitch; ask any sailor or para-glide enthusiastic. Not only will the drone be less likely to make it back, it will hinder whatever comes next, an alternative solution that merely took 34 seconds to figure out, whether it is an actual solution requires a little bit of scrutiny; if we add a paint or glue device to the cylinder that once the cable is out sets it off? The impact on the rotors as its rotational ability is lowered by a lot might also down it, whilst the impact is diminished by the deployed helium balloon.
The second solution is brought by Defense News (at https://www.defensenews.com/digital-show-dailies/navy-league/2018/04/10/this-gun-shoots-drones-out-of-the-sky/). Here we see: “The IXI Dronekiller is the first and only hand-held counter-drone technology employing the use of software defined radio, according to IXI Technology representatives at the Sea-Air-Space Exposition in Washington, D.C., this week“, we are also treated to: “The IXI Dronekiller will be able to target all Type I and Type II commercial drones, which are exactly the type you’d see non-state, and even some state, actors employ on battlefields like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan“, an interesting solution. Yet the Guardian gives us: “more sophisticated drones know to automatically return to their operator if they lose signal“, so what if there is a binary signal? What if the first one does what it is already doing, yet the second part ends up being more like the precursor to the laser. What if we take MASER (Microwave Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) to a new level and fry the circuitry at the same time (if that is possible over the range)? We would not have solved the damage by crashing, yet over airfields, the damage will be at the most a landing strip and if it can survive the wheels of a Boeing, it can take the impact of a drone, no question. Another option is tagging, if the perpetrator cannot be stopped, perhaps the drone can be tagged, making it a much larger issue for anyone to get it back. In addition to all this, industrial drones are not cheap, so after this person losses their second drone, the impact will be financially felt, these babies go for $8,000 each and the first serial number will aid towards getting the claim for 800 delayed flights started.
All this took merely minutes to contemplate, implying that there is plenty of progress to be found in the anti-drone field. Still when this happens right before Christmas weekend, the victims will remain the airport passengers and that sucks. I have been in a heavily delayed flight before (twice actually) and even as the airport was not at fault either way, the lack of options at airports for those stranded still sucks.
Let’s hope that these people at Gatwick Airport will make it to their destination without any further issues